With Bianca gone, Morgan Harris saw an opportunity. He saw the opportunity to be Leslie‘s first male companion in the van. He saw an opportunity to see what the South of Italy is like during a pandemic. He also saw an opportunity to be completely freezing in some difficult conditions..
After enjoying the coast and visiting Rome for two days we decided to go into the mountains.
Abruzzo was our destination.
To be honest we didn’t really know what we were signing ourselves up for. Yes, we knew it would be cold and yes, we knew it would be difficult, but did we prepare for it? Kind of.
On the day before we left for the hills, Leslie picked up a set of snow chains for the van in case we got stuck. They were used probably less than 24hours after purchase.
As we set on a two hour drive, Leslie was actually a little bit hesitant. What if there would be no snow at all? About an hour before we got to our destination, there was a touch of snow on the hills and the road, but nothing to really get excited about.
Cue the 30 minute climb.
Visibility quickly disappeared. The roads were lined with walls of white snow, and as we got to the top, there was no view to enjoy. We had arrived at our campsite for the night - the car park of a closed ski resort. Regrettably, we didn’t check the weather too much, and we landed ourselves into the beginnings of a snow storm. Wind battered the van all night, and boy was it cold.
The next morning, snow lined the car park once again, and we quickly decided to head on to a new destination. We got out of the hole we dug ourselves in, but after sliding down the hill with the handbrake locked up, we thought it was time for the snow chains.
Morgan got truly stuck in. Winds and snow had picked up yet again. We were learning on the job, with Leslie holding the phone for the how-to video to be played for the first time. Eventually they made it on, and we were on our way.
Next stop, Pescasseroli.
Pescasseroli is a small town deeper into the mountains, with a ski resort supplying entertainment. This was much, much better. The weather was calmer, the views were stunning and there was actual civilization around us. This left us with one thing to focus on:
If you could picture two Russian ice skaters, in perfect harmony and synchronisation, then that’s exactly how Morgan looked with his sled. The mountain tried to offset his balance, but his brick-like figure was simply glued to the grooves of his red slider. We have yet to see pace quite like it.
While Morgan was breaking the sound barrier, Leslie was doing his best to break his lip. Trying to film while having about 10 hours experience on a snowboard is foolish. It was a beautiful experience, regardless.
There was only one man who could up the levels on the slopes. Giorgio Ghiotto couldn’t be seen to miss out. A complete lack for his safety resulted in some beautiful runs on his sled. Showing even enough disrespect to force dear Costanza to go tandem down the hill. Only one thing could put a dampener on these days…
The cold nights.
Our last night in particular was relatively punishing. We finally had the fire working, but once that died, and we fell asleep, temperatures dropped to -8, with a real feel of -18. Leslie woke up to frost on the walls and ceiling of the van. The pipe for the water had froze over, for good measure. We were planning to leave the following night, and we must say, we were happy to enjoy a few extra degrees.
The van in the snow isn’t too bad, but you wouldn’t want to be permanently in it, either. Enjoying the slopes was absolutely amazing and a massive blessing. One night. The batteries were so drained that Leslie had to stay in an ‘officially’ closed 2-star hotel to be able to work. Unfortunately all campsites and hotels are closed in the region. However, seeing that the resort is too, it’s a blessing. We were able to act like fools on a sled for free, and we were forced to rise to the occasion and survive a few bitter nights in the van.
With Morgan now gone, Leslie will be returning to the slopes by the end of the week. This time, however, it will be to enjoy filming an athlete. He’s excited, if you can’t tell.